Hello, Nick Ponte here. I’m a business owner in Hawaii who’s been rolling with the punches over the pandemic and helping businesses around me do the same.
It’s been quite a year and a half for businesses on our chain of islands. We’ve had to work hard to pivot to all the changes wrought by a global pandemic. Most businesses here faced tough decisions as tourism effectively ended, and revenue sank. Some businesses had to lay off employees, some had to get government funding, and others had to close their doors permanently.
However, through all this, I’ve also seen amazing stories of adaptation and resilience. When the going got tough, the tough got going. Thankfully, better times appear to be on the horizon.
Also Read: How Hawaiian Businesses Can Prepare For The “New Normal”
The Summer Surge Of Tourists
Part of my job as a digital marketer helping local businesses is staying on top of news relating to business in Hawaii. And thankfully, the news is good.
Our islands have seen a tremendous uptick in tourists over the last few months. Experts credit a few different factors for the “summer surge.” Some of them point to the pent-up desire to travel that so many people had to put on hold during the last year. Others point to loosening COVID-19 restrictions and an increase in the number of vaccinated travelers. A few have also pointed out the role that federal stimulus money has played that some people have used as an extra vacation budget.
Regardless of the causes, we’re seeing a huge surge in travelers. Though some here find this unwelcome, I know plenty of business owners who are enjoying an increase in foot traffic after so many tight months.
During a recent broadcast, State House Speaker Scott Saiki argued that Hawaii should spend less on marketing for tourism, and focus on managing the increased traffic it already has. That may or may not work out as intended for the travel authority, but I argue that small business owners should actually double down on their marketing efforts for the next few months.
More people are coming to Hawaii, bringing with them plenty of money to spend. Why shouldn’t they give your business a visit while they’re here? After all, nobody knows how long the surge will last, or if more travel restrictions will occur during the fall and winter.
I recommend you make it as easy as possible for both locals and tourists to find you online during the next few months through the power of Local SEO and Search Engine Marketing.
Also Read: Local SEO Whitepaper: Making Your Brand Famous In Your Location
How to Boost Your Traffic This Summer and Fall
Here are a few tips for boosting your physical and digital traffic:
- Start With the End In Mind
Everybody’s business situation is different, yours included.
To succeed in the midst of the surge, you need to decide on your specific goals for the next few months. If you’re not already in the habit of setting quarterly goals for your business, now is a fantastic time to start.
What do you want your revenue to look like from now until the start of October? What about your foot traffic? How much will you invest in digital and offline marketing?
When you have the answers to these questions, you know where to allocate your time, money, and energy.
I highly recommend investing in local SEO if you haven’t already. Local SEO targets the people in your geographical proximity who search for something like “X business near me” on search engines. With more people coming to our islands, we can expect “near me” searches to rise during the next few months.
- Become Easier to Find on Google
If you’ve followed this blog for any amount of time, you’ve probably seen me imploring the reader to get their business onto Google My Business, pronto. No, I’m not sponsored by Google. I just know this is one of the fastest and most effective ways to increase your visibility and authority in local searches.
When you work with Google My Business, you can customize the panel that appears when people search for you online, and add in the relevant information. You can get a ‘verified’ status that shows searchers you’re legit at a glance. You also gain access to analytics that will help direct your organic marketing and ad campaigns.
- Run an SEM Campaign
SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing. It is a form of paid advertising that takes place on the results pages of search engines. Typically, ads appear at the top of the results page, and sometimes in a side panel.
For starters, I recommend a campaign using Google Ads because of their extremely high share of searches. In this format of advertising, you only pay for the instances where real customers click on your ad. So, if nobody clicks it, you’re free to change up the formula without paying a dime.
Here is a quick guide to pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns. Take a look, so you know what to expect.
It’s been a tough year and a half, but better times are coming. Here’s to you and I riding this wave of increased tourism over the next few months.
If you want help with Local SEO or a PPC campaign, we’ve got you covered. Reach out to us with this link.
Further Reading: 7 SEO Tools Real Experts Use Weekly
Photos Courtesy of Chase O and Taiki Ishikawa